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Conscious Sedation in the Dental Office

Many people have never heard of  Conscious Sedation in Dentistry, although they may be familiar with nitrous oxide ("laughing gas") and general anaesthesia ("unconscious sedation")--  two routes of controlling anxiety and pain.   The sedation medications are given via oral, inhalation and / or intra-venous routes to the patient after careful preoperative evaluation.  This produces a relaxed, "trance-like" state where the patient is still able to breathe on his own, but does not experience anxiety or discomfort while the procedures are being carried out.   The recovery time is usually shorter than that of  general anaesthesia, and the after-effects are minimal.  The patient must still be escorted home and supervised for several hours afterwards by a responsible adult.

Conscious Sedation is routinely used for surgical procedures (i.e. removal of impacted teeth), complex procedures (i.e. crown and bridge or endodontics), and also for routine dental procedures (i.e. restorations, cleanings). Instead of multiple shorter appointments for routine dentistry, one longer visit could be achieve the necessary results.  The latter issue is a great benefit to many business people who often cannot schedule several appointments without conflicts in their schedules.  With Conscious Sedation the work is performed conveniently and efficiently, maximizing patient comfort.   Conscious Sedation is also carried out for children who require extensive dental treatment, but where general anaesthesia would not be warranted.  The amnesic effect of the sedation allows for little or no memory of the procedures having been carried out, thus removing many fears for such patients.

We use three basic techniques for Conscious Sedation.  Patients are assessed for their individual situation. After the pros and cons are discussed, one of the following techniques is recommended:

Inhalation Sedation

Oral- Inhalation Sedation

Intra-Venous Sedation

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